I know it for hops, but a a sign on the way into town informed us that Yakima is the Palm Springs of Washington. After a week here, I’m not sure that’s how most people describe the city.
Situated in South Central Washington, Yakima is the farming hub for the area. This little valley town hosts about 95,000 people and doesn’t really provide much in the way of stuff to do. If you’re not coming on business, odds are you’re not staying too long in Yakima. That’s not to say that there’s nothing to do here, just that there’s not much. That’s not just me, either. #5 on the local radio station’s Top 5 Things To Do in Yakima With Kids list is literally “Leave Yakima”.
We did see some sights, however, starting with the local museum. The woman at reception greeted us with a big smile and chatted with us about the exhibits, where we came from, etc. After a pleasant chat we viewed art from a local artist, learned about the history of Japanese in Yakima Valley, perused the well-stocked displays of equipment used in the 1900s, and were informed on famous people from Yakima, which includes the actor who played Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks and the most famous drill Sargent ever (the Full Metal Jacket one).
Tops in my books, however, was a sheepherder’s wagon because it is basically a horse-drawn Westfalia.
We also visited the local arboretum, which was exceptional. It’s a sprawling field of trees of all types, well worth the afternoon to stroll, picnic, and enjoy the variety of nature. The Eastern side of the arboretum harbors marshland plants and in the middle of the space sits a Japanese-inspired garden. It’s well worth your time if you ever visit Yakima.
We left on a Friday, the weekend right before a big monster truck rally and motocross event, we were lucky enough to be in town for a fair. Held in Selah, a town next to Yakima, it represented a 21st-century Rockwell version of the USA. There was even a $5 BBQ with a country band. It was perfect.
And finally, in the spirit of what seems to be a new tradition, on Friday morning on our way out of town we found the most tasty-looking bakery and ate the best-looking thing we could find. If you are in Yakima, you will not go wrong with Essencia bakery.